Re­al­ity check

Kent Life - - Countryside Life -

There won’t be a dry eye in the house once you’ve read

this life-af­firm­ing story

Iknew there’d be tears, but I didn’t re­alise just how many peo­ple would be welling up with emo­tion. The re­mark­able story of two sis­ters from Shet­land who took on the run­ning of the fam­ily farm af­ter their fa­ther’s sud­den death has moved just about ev­ery­one. Kirsty and

Aimee Budge proved just what ex­cep­tional young women they are when their dad, Bry­den, was killed in a farm­ing ac­ci­dent in 2014. At the time Kirsty was 21 years old and Aimee was just 17, but de­spite their grief and the daunt­ing task ahead of them, the girls de­cided to take on the man­age­ment of the 750-acre mixed farm that had been in the fam­ily for more than 150 years.

I vis­ited them at home and filmed them as they went around ear-tag­ging calves, mov­ing sheep and main­tain­ing fences; jobs they took in their stride, to­tally un­fazed by our cam­eras and mi­cro­phones. Kirsty had been train­ing to be a teacher, but she told me that the prac­ti­cal re­al­i­ties of run­ning the farm soon hit home. “Af­ter our dad’s death the farm re­ally helped us be­cause you had to get up, get on with it and feed the an­i­mals. They were re­ly­ing on us, there was no CLA South East has wel­comed De­fra sec­re­tary Michael Gove’s an­nounce­ment of a re­view to strengthen the Gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach to tack­ling fly-tip­ping.

In­ci­dents in Maid­stone, for ex­am­ple, grew by 22 per cent from 796 in 2015/16 to 973 in 2016/17, while Swale ex­pe­ri­enced a nine per cent rise from 2,966 to 3,243.

The CLA be­lieves the real over­all to­tals are con­sid­er­ably higher, as many in­ci­dents go un­recorded and un­re­ported.

Gov­ern­ment, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and the En­vi­ron­ment Agency chance of us mop­ing around.”

It’s easy to for­get just how tough farm­ing in Shet­land can be. It’s about as far north as it’s pos­si­ble to get in the United King­dom, and while the land­scape is stun­ning, farms are iso­lated and the win­ter weather is un­for­giv­ing. But as if tak­ing must work to­gether with farm­ers and landown­ers to help re­duce fly-tip­ping on pri­vate ru­ral land. It cre­ates a vi­cious cy­cle of costly cleanups by landown­ers and farm­ers who bear the bur­den of waste crime and even prose­cu­tion.

While it’s easy to blame house­hold­ers for the sig­nif­i­cant rise in fly-tip­ping, we’re see­ing more and more waste dumped on an in­dus­trial scale across the coun­try­side. Partly be­cause higher coun­cil fees are putting peo­ple off law­ful dis­posal at the lo­cal tip, much is caused by the reins of Big­ton Farm wasn’t enough, the sis­ters have also stepped up to help fel­low farm­ers and lo­cal pro­duc­ers make the very best of their busi­nesses.

Kirsty and Aimee run Shet­land’s only mon­i­tor farm, which means they host reg­u­lar meet­ings and hold demon­stra­tions for other farm­ers and crofters to share their knowl­edge about ev­ery­thing from suc­cess­ful lamb­ing to the best ways of en­cour­ag­ing young peo­ple into agri­cul­ture. The sis­ters have even shown off their newly bought Shorthorn bull to their col­leagues and neigh­bours.

It all made them de­serv­ing and in­spir­ing win­ners of this year’s Coun­try­file Farm­ing He­roes Award, which was an­nounced at an im­pres­sive prize-giv­ing cer­e­mony in Bris­tol City Hall.

The girls were joined on stage by their sis­ter Han­nah and mum He­len, who told the au­di­ence just how proud their dad would have been of Kirsty and Aimee.

And that’s when the tears started. It was a truly touch­ing mo­ment for guests, hosts and au­di­ence mem­bers alike. Al­though if any­body asks, I’m telling them I had some­thing in my eye that night. busi­nesses not com­ply­ing with waste dis­posal reg­u­la­tions.

The costs and process of get­ting a waste-trans­fer li­cence act as a dis­in­cen­tive for le­gal dis­posal and en­cour­ages or­gan­ised crime. It is vi­tal that we bring about, and pub­li­cise, more suc­cess­ful prose­cu­tions to en­cour­age peo­ple to dis­pose of their rub­bish through proper le­gal chan­nels. It would also help if tougher penal­ties were in­tro­duced. Two years ago lo­cal au­thor­i­ties were given greater pow­ers to tackle the crime by is­su­ing penalty no­tices of £150 to £400 to those caught in the act of fly-tip­ping any­thing from old fridges to gar­den waste or rub­ble. It’s a step in the right di­rec­tion, but not far enough, as shown by the grow­ing num­bers of in­ci­dents in many ar­eas.

Adam Hen­son

ABOVE: Weather con­di­tions in Shet­land make farm­ing tough

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.